Sunday Standard has not been able to get official confirmation of how much the Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) president, Winston Radikolo and national treasurer, Samuel Aboneng, earn at the Union head office.
“As to the remunerations of the President and the National Treasurer, I am constrained to discuss them with a third party,” said BOSETU’s Secretary General, Tobokani Rari, in response to our inquiry. “Those are issues of contracts between an employee
and the employer that cannot be disclosed to a third party nor the public.”
In the category of “third party” are members of BOSETU itself who don’t know how much union officials seconded to the head office get in remuneration. Just last week, one member asked a question about the remuneration of these officials in a Facebook post.
Rari emphasized that “the figures stated in your inquiry of P112 000 and P90 000 monthly salaries for the President and Treasurer respectively are outrightly incorrect, their remunerations by BOSETU are way much less than that.”
Both Radikolo and Aboneng have been seconded to the head office in line with a motion that was adopted at last year’s national congress as well as an agreement between the Union and the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM). The motion says “Congress mandates the incoming National Executive Committee to pursue the possibility of the secondment of the President and National Treasurer.” In cases where a union leader is seconded to work at a union’s office, the government continues to pay his or her salary for the entire period of the secondment. The union also pays that leader a salary. The agreement with DPSM also permits civil servants to go on unpaid leave and take up temporary employment at a union’s offices. Radikolo was seconded under the first arrangement and Aboneng under the second.
The aforementioned figures had been given to us by BOSETU sources who are unhappy with what they see as “extravagant” spending at the Union’s head office in Gaborone. The sources say that Rari’s refutation of the figures is technical because it limits itself to Sunday Standard’s mistaken use of “salary” and doesn’t acknowledge that the total package (basic salary and allowances) come to around the quoted figures. According to a disaggregated set of figures that seek to support the latter, in addition to his basic salary from the government, Radikolo reportedly gets P72 000 a month as basic salary from the Union. The Union has also provided him with a car that he uses for official union business.
Rari said that the salaries that Radikolo and Aboneng get are not generous as has been suggested but are “in line with what the market remunerates in the context of trade unions.” He added that salaries of senior managers at BOSETU are determined by a pay structure that has been
determined by BOSETU.
“BOSETU has an organisational structure and pay/salary structure that has been adopted by the National Executive Committee of the Union, and as such, any employee, whether recruited or being a political appointee, are fitted into the structure upon arrival,” the BOSETU Secretary General said.
As stated, Radikolo and Aboneng have been redeployed under different terms. The government continues to pay Radikolo’s salary while Aboneng went on unpaid leave and his entire payment comes from the Union. Sources say that in addition to a basic salary, BOSETU pays the latter some allowances, which include car allowance.
Although Aboneng came to work at the head office in line with a congress resolution, some members question why his secondment was necessary at all because he is not a finance professional bringing any expertise but is a Business Studies teacher with neither training nor experience in financial accounting.
On the other hand, Rari said that the position of Treasurer is elective and that “in elections, relevant qualifications are not usually a factor. However, for our current Treasurer, we are lucky that he is qualified in finance and accounts. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Business Administration, which will assist in him overseeing the Union finances and investments as per the dictates of his portfolio.”
Rari added that the deployment of the Treasurer will remain the norm as long as the resolution taken at the 2021 national congress resolution remains unchanged.
“However, I must be quick to point out that the secondment agreement between DPSM and BOSETU for the current Treasurer’s secondment is only for three years which is the duration for his elected term of office.”
Another controversial remuneration issue at the BOSETU head office involves an HR consultant who came to work at the office on behalf of an HR company but has now been engaged on a short-term contract in his personal capacity. First explaining the contract and how it has evolved, Rari said that after the expiry of the employment contract of the Union’s HR Manager last year, an HR company was engaged.
“Its contract expired about twice before the completion of an important exercise of restructuring, and it
got extended by the NATEX for those two occasions. During its provision of service and the middle of the restructuring process, the resource (HR Expert) that was placed at BOSETU intimated to the union that he has parted ways with HR company contracted by BOSETU.
BOSETU then engaged with company and mutually agreed that in view of the fact the resource that was placed at BOSETU by the company has a long history with the BOSETU restructuring exercise, we should engage the resource in his individual capacity for continuity’s sake,” Rari explained.
Our information was that the individual in question owned the HR company but Rari refuted it, saying that the Union’s records show that he was an HR consultant engaged by the company that BOSETU had engaged.
Rari declined to reveal how much this consultant gets in his new contract with BOSETU as an individual but our information is that he gets a tax-free P65 000 a month. While declining to confirm the figure, Rari refuted the claim that the consultant’s salary was not taxed.
“I cannot delve into the issue of the contract between the employer (Union) and an employee (the HR resource /consultant), and as such I am constrained to divulge such information to the third party and the public,” he said. “I must put it on record that the HR resource/consultant engaged by BOSETU does pay tax at the rate of 14 percent that is withheld by BOSETU upon payment and as such, that the consultant is not paying tax is not correct.”